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  1. #1
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    Dreamweaver and CMS

    Hi,

    I've designed a complete website with Dreamweaver and hand coding, featuring html5, css, and jquery scripts. If I wanted to make a similar site this way but for a client, it's my understanding that a CMS is the best way to go.

    However I've done demos of several CMS and see how they function for my client, but can't figure out how to integrate the CMS with the site I designed in dreamweaver.

    I can't find information on how this works ANYWHERE! I'm SO confused.

    I just need a general understanding of how CMS work. Once I understand it, then I might be able to pick which one is best for my clients.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    The fat guy next door VIPStephan's Avatar
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    I’m familiar with Concrete5, CMS Made Simple, and Wordpress, and they have a different approach each but generally, templating works in a similar way.

    At first you create your HTML templates like you’ve done before. Then most CMSs are modular and work with themes, i. e. you can create and switch themes without modifying the core of the CMS, you just add your HTML templates and add a few CMS specific code snippets or “tags” and there you go.

    CMS Made Simple, for example, is based on the Smarty framework and everything happens in the CMS itself (template management, stylesheets etc.). If you have created a static HTML template like this:

    Code:
    <!DOCTYPE html>
    <html>
    …
    <body>
      <div id="container">
        <div id="header">
          <!-- here comes a navigation -->
          <ul>
            <li>…</li>
            <li>…</li>
            <li>…</li>
          </ul>
        </div>
        <div id="content">
          this is some sample placeholder content in the template
        </div>
        <div id="footer">…</div>
      </div>
    </body>
    </html>
    … in the CMS you just replace the static sample content you had in your template with the {content} tag and that’s where the content can be edited in the pages later on (or will be updated automatically as in the case of the menu when a new page is added in the CMS):
    Code:
    <!DOCTYPE html>
    <html>
    …
    <body>
      <div id="container">
        <div id="header">
          {menu}
        </div>
        <div id="content">
          {content}
        </div>
        <div id="footer">…</div>
      </div>
    </body>
    </html>
    It works similarly in Concrete5 but with slightly different code. In that CMS you even have in-place editing where you can edit contents directly on the live page rather than through an admin interface which makes it extra easy to grasp for non-savvy people. They also have a great video explaining how to create a theme in 8 minutes.

    I hope that clarifies things a bit.

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    shmoomoo (10-20-2011)

  • #3
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    this thing would be helpful to me too. I guess I will start with worpress first.

  • #4
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    Thanks VIPStephan! Those CMS sound like integrating with an already designed webpage isn't too hard.

    However, I know that Joomla, Drupal, and Wordpress are the most popular free open-source CMS, and it seems like on those you pretty much have to pick the CMS and template first, and then just try and modify the template to fit what you want.

    Is it possible to go backwards and turn an already made, functioning site into a template with one of those CMS? Is it worth the effort to learn a big, powerful CMS now, or something like Wordpress, or is it just better to use "CMS Made Simple" or "Simple CMS"?

  • #5
    The fat guy next door VIPStephan's Avatar
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    Well, well… not sure if I can speak for the majority but my personal experience is that “the most popular” CMSs aren’t necessarily the best ones or the ones that fit your needs. I’ve never grown warm with Joomla or Drupal but it might be my way of thinking and organizing things. And seriously, Concrete5 was the most user friendly and well designed out-of-the-box CMS I’ve come across so far.

    And don’t confuse “popular” with “powerful”. CMS Made Simple is just as powerful as Joomla or Drupal. I’ve done this site with CMS Made Simple. Not that I want to convince you, you can use Joomla or Drupal or Typo3 if you’re more comfortable with these. I’m just saying.

    Now, besides their differences all of the above mentioned CMSs work similar in that you create themes and you can turn any working website into a theme, you don’t have to pick the CMS and the template(s) and modify them. As shown above with the website I created, this layout/design hasn’t existed before and I’ve completely made it from scratch. And if you view the source code of the pages you’ll notice that it’s all “static” HTML, i. e. I could have this website even without a CMS in the background.

    So, to answer your question: Yes, you can have any already working website and turn it into a CMS-driven website/theme. As I outlined in my previous post you just take the static HTML and replace the content with a CMS specific “placeholder” which will in return be replaced with the content you insert through the CMS in each page.

    As far as Wordpress is concerned I’m a little hesitant to recommend it as “regular” CMS. Wordpress is a CMS but its strength lies more in the blogging type of functionality. If you were going to manage a lot of “paged” content then this could become a little cumbersome in my opinion. So, if you have a pretty static site with only a few pages that are barely changing, and with a news/blog kind of functionality then Wordpress might be the way to go. If you have a site where the amount of actual pages and their content is changing frequently then a “full blown” CMS is probably the better choice.

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    finoy_ako (10-21-2011)

  • #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by shmoomoo View Post
    However, I know that Joomla, Drupal, and Wordpress are the most popular free open-source CMS, and it seems like on those you pretty much have to pick the CMS and template first, and then just try and modify the template to fit what you want.
    VIPStephan already made the point that you don't have to pick a preexisting template and modify it, but that you can just write one from scratch. As another example, I just wanted to add that I built the site in my signature using a Wordpress backend. The source gives it away, but you wouldn't notice, just looking at the site itself.

    This comes up frequently in client work: Clients might tell me that they want an easy to use backend like Wordpress, but are concerned that that might mean that their site has to look all wordpressy, or that they can't do AJAX or something. Generally, you should choose your backend solely on its own merits and on how well it plays with the content structure you have in mind. The presentation of the content is something else entirely, and it's no problem at all to retrofit an existing static site to work as a template.
    .My new Javascript tutorial site: http://reallifejs.com/
    .Latest article: Calculators — Tiny jQuery calculator, Full-fledged OOP calculator, Big number calculator
    .Latest quick-bit: Including jQuery — Environment-aware minification and CDNs with local fallback

  • #7
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    is Concrete5 is free like wordpress?

  • #8
    The fat guy next door VIPStephan's Avatar
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    Concret5 is free like free beer. They offer commercial hosting and set-up, however, if you aren’t savvy enough to install and host it yourself. And also, some of the add-ons aren’t free but you can be pretty sure that those are working and you get support, too.


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